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Indian accused of making terror threats in US

Sujithkumar Venkatramolla is charged with causing a bomb and anthrax scare at University of Missouri-Rolla.
IANS | By Arun Kumar, Washington
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2007 03:13 PM IST

An Indian graduate student has been charged with making terrorist threats after he caused a bomb and anthrax scare leading to a shutdown at the University of Missouri-Rolla.

The student, Sujithkumar Venkatramolla, 22, was arrested on campus early on Tuesday after walking into a civil engineering building armed with a knife, holding a paper bag and saying he had a bomb and anthrax, media reports citing local authorities said Wednesday.

Police eventually subdued him with a stun gun after he refused to drop the knife. The bomb and anthrax threats were determined to be phoney.

Extensive searches of the campus building Tuesday found no trace of explosives, and preliminary tests showed that a white, powdery substance found on the man was nothing more than powdered sugar, police said.

Venkatramolla, a civil engineering student from Nizamabad, India, was depressed and apparently distraught over grades.

He was charged with armed criminal action, resisting arrest, false report of a bomb threat, making terrorist threats, and first-degree assault of a law enforcement officer. He was later sent to jail with bond set at $250,000.

The investigation will take some time to finish, because of the heightened concerns about terrorism and the fact the student was from overseas, police said. The FBI is among the investigating agencies.

A university spokesperson said she was not aware of any previous disciplinary issues relating to the student who lived in an off-campus apartment.

The 5,850-student technological research and engineering campus was shut down for the day by the scare. Twenty-three people, including eight students and a faculty member, were quarantined for several hours but showed no signs of illness and were allowed to go home Tuesday afternoon.

The school has students drawn from 48 US states and 55 foreign countries.

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